Case studies of staff support

Appendix three of the PSIRF lists national sources of support for healthcare staff affected by a patient safety incident, and also signposts to this Second Victim Support website.

Many NHS organisations already recognise the need to improve the support they offer their staff after they have been involved in a patient safety incident and are looking at ways to achieve this. The case studies below are examples of support systems for staff in NHS organisations in England.

Case study 1 – Leeds Incident Support Team (Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust) – peer support service for second victims


The risk management office at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust (LTHT)


Support for second victims provided by staff members who have themselves been involved in an incident and have made a commitment to be available to talk to other staff in a similar situation.

LIST members are identified by badges with the LIST logo, and a central list of these staff members is held by the risk management office. They have been trained to provide advice and support relating to the investigation process

Individuals who have been involved in an incident are able to approach any member of staff with a LIST logo for support, or contact the risk management office to be put in touch with someone.

The LIST function operates in addition to the Trust’s wider staff support offer including support from line managers, the Employee Assistance Programme (access to counselling), Clinical Psychology and the Occupational Health service. If LIST members have concerns about a colleague’s health and well-being they have information to “signpost” the member of staff to these other services for help.

Further information:

Scott, S.D., Hirschinger, L.E., Cox, K.R., McCoig, M., Hahn-Cover, K., Epperly, K.M., Phillips, E.C. and Hall, L.W., 2010. Caring for our own: deploying a systemwide second victim rapid response team. Communication of Critical Test Results.

Case study 2 – Critical Incident Stress De-Briefing Team (Bradford District NHS Foundation Trust)


Twelve members of staff have completed training to receive accrediation as stress debriefers.


Bradford District Care NHS Foundation Trust (BDCT) is committed to providing a timely and supportive response in the aftermath of serious incidents. The World Health Organization et al (2011) developed guidance on psychological first aid and the structured debriefing of those affected by stress situations and symptoms in the workplace. Critical Incident Stress Debriefing (CISD) is a recommended approach for supporting teams to have space to process their experience of the impact of serious incidents (Harrison & Wu (2017) and particularly focusses on how people are coping and can support one another to cope with that impact.

Full case study here.

Case study 3 - 'Time Out’ Group Peer Support Following Patient Safety Incidents (Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust)


Staff working in acute paediatric care are at risk of experiencing Acute Stress Responses (ASR), Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), moral distress and burnout (Prentice et al 2016; Jones et al 2019). ‘Time Out’ has been developed in Leeds Teaching Hospital NHS Trust in response to Paediatric Intensive Care staff requesting more support following involvement in and exposure to patient safety incidents.

Full case study here.